Medical malpractice is more common than you might think. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The effects of unsafe healthcare practices are one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability worldwide. While medical professionals are meant to practice patient safety, there are also steps that you as a patient can take to ensure your safety while receiving medical attention.
Do your research. It’s a good idea to gain knowledge about the reputation of any medical facility you choose to go to – whether it be a general physician, urgent care, emergency room, or specialist’s office. If you have the option, try to go to facilities that have received positive feedback from other patients.
Confirm your identity. Many institutions abide by the “Check Two Before You Do” motto, meaning your medical professional should confirm two pieces of personal information with you such as your name and date of birth.
Tell your medical team about your medical history. This includes any past or current conditions, all prescriptions (including over-the-counter), and any major surgeries or hospitalizations you’ve experienced.
Understand your diagnosis. Although your medical professional should be aware of your diagnosis and the potential dangers, doing your own research is never a bad idea. Make sure you understand your condition, the symptoms, appropriate medications, as well as potentially dangerous drug combinations.
Confirm medications and dosages. If a medical professional is providing you with a medication to take, whether it be in the facility or a prescription you must pick up, make sure to confirm what the medication is and that they are providing you with the correct dosage.
Procure a written copy of everything. From proof of a visit to test results, you should write your own notes as well as receive copies of all medical records and visit summaries from your healthcare provider.
Be an engaged member of your healthcare team. Patients who play an active role in their healthcare tend to have a better overall experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something and remember that all medical professionals are required to gain informed consent before proceeding with any procedures or treatments.
What Is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is a patient’s right to determine what they do with their own body. No medical professional is allowed to perform any procedure or proceed with any treatment without the express approval of the patient. More specifically, the patient must understand what the treatment will entail, possible risks, and the expected results. Every medical professional has the responsibility to provide a thorough and understandable explanation of what the treatment option is, how it is performed, the risks involved, and why they are recommending it.
The process of obtaining informed consent is a total of 3 steps:
- The medical professional must explain the procedure or treatment, the potential benefits and risks, any reasonable alternatives, and the most likely outcomes of the treatment.
- The medical professional should determine whether the patient has understood the explanation they provided and receive verbal consent from the patient to proceed. Often, medical professionals will have patients repeat the information they were just told and explain it in their own words.
- The patient must sign the consent form. Remember, a signature alone is not enough to prove informed consent. The patient must show an understanding of the procedure or treatment as well as any risks involved.
Do you have a medical malpractice case? If you or someone you know has experienced negative health results due to medical malpractice, contact Rob Levine & Associates today. We can help to determine if you have a case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve!